Keys, Doors and Gates
Keys and open doors/gates are used to illustrate the opportunity
to obtain something, or to get somewhere (whether entering or exiting through
it). Closed doors/gates are used to describe the lack of
such an opportunity.
A. Keys / Doors / Gates related to salvation and the opportunity
to be saved
A warning that the way to salvation is not easy to find: It is like
a narrow, hard to find gate (contrasted to a wide, readily visible gate)
- Matthew 7:13-14.
Jesus is the way. He is described as the good shepherd, as
well as the gate to the sheep pen - John 10:1-18 (verses 1-3, 7, 9 use the
A stern warning against people who keep others from entering the kingdom
of heaven, by taking the "key to knowledge" away from them - Luke 11:52.
The apostles were given the authority to proclaim this message about Jesus.
Peter, who was the first to acknowledge an understanding of this truth,
was described as being given the "keys" of the kingdom of heaven, which would
open the "gate" to salvation - Matthew 16:19. [The other apostles also had
this authority to proclaim the message. But historically, Peter was the one
God used to first "open the door" to the Jews (Acts 2), and then to the non-Jews
This message about salvation, this "door of faith," has been opened
(is available) even to non-Jews - Acts 14:27.
B. Keys / Doors related to the proclamation of the good
news about salvation (examples)
A request for prayer, that God would open the door (opportunity) for
proclaiming the good news about Christ - Colossians 4:3. [In this verse,
this good news is described as a "mystery": a previously-unrevealed truth
that needed to be proclaimed to everyone.]
The door (opportunity) for preaching the good news about Christ: It
was opened by God - 2 Corinthians 2:12.
An open door (opportunity) successfully entered: It resulted in the
salvation of many - as well as opposition by those who were enemies of the
good news - 1 Corinthians 16:9.
C. Keys / Open Doors related to life in Christ
The opportunity for fellowship with Christ: It is available to all
who "open the door" to him - Revelation 3:20. [Note: These people claimed
to have all the blessings of salvation, but in God's eyes, they were spiritually
naked. (They still needed "clothed" with salvation.)]
"Open doors" related to answered prayer: Knock and the door will be
opened to you (etc.) - Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10.
An "open door" of authority and opportunity
Jesus, the King, has inherited the "key of David" - all the authority of
King David, and more - Revelation 3:7-8. [This verse alludes to Isaiah 22:22.
The authority that Eliakim (the palace administrator) had was a symbolic
representation of the much greater authority that Jesus has.]
An example of such an open door of opportunity, one that Jesus guaranteed
would be kept open - Revelation 3:8. [Note that it was not because of
their strength, that this "door" was opened, but because of their faithfulness
to Christ. The King, not the people, opened the door.]
D. Keys / Doors / Gates related to prophecy, eternity and
An open door to heaven, allowing John to see the visions - Revelation
The gates of the eternal city
They can be entered only by those who have clean robes - Revelation 22:14.
<Some translations, such as the KJV, read "those who do his commandments."
This expresses approximately the same thought as "those who wash their
clothes."> [See Revelation 19:8. These robes represent their salvation
and righteous deeds. ]
They are never shut to God's people - Revelation 21:25. [Those who do not
belong to God, will never be allowed to enter - Revelation 21:17
and other verses.]
Other verses describing the gates - Revelation 21:12-13, 15, 21.
Keys / Doors related to death, Hades (the place of the dead) and the
bottomless pit ("abyss")
Jesus is the one who has the keys of death and Hades - Revelation 1:18. [He
has authority and power over them.]
The gates of Hades will not prove stronger than the church (which
is built on the message about Jesus) - Matthew 16:18.
Prophecy about a "star" who is given the key to the bottomless pit, in order
to bring judgment to the earth - Revelation 9:1+.
Prophecy about an angel who has the key to the bottomless pit, in order to
lock Satan in it, for 1000 years - Revelation 20:1+.
Dennis Hinks © 2002